A friend loaned me a book. It's written by some guy named DeYoung, I guess he is a pastor; or at minimum, was one when this thing was written. By-in-large, I tend to avoid (like the plague!) Christian literature, and if left to myself, almost certainly would not have picked up this book to read. My buddy (Rick); apparently thinks that "Just Do Something", could (possibly) be of some help? I mean, I'm guessing that this is the case. The book in question (b.i.q.) here, is of the "God's will for your life" ilk..."but Not" (so to speak). DeYoung is trying (I think) to clobber the vast indecision, the passive gutlessness, and general unwillingness to (ever) do anything; which Christians are so famous for. For us to extend antennae, and "just sense" His leading, makes me ill, when I hear of it, recommended by others. The b.i.q. is NOT doing that junk, and so it's (at least) sane. Yet, who wants to hear about God's guidance anyhow? If it isn't Him directing me, why would I care? Not to put too fine a point on it, but I don't much care about His guidance...in YOUR life! "God's will for my life", (I am willing to wager), is that I walk godly in Christ Jesus. That pretty much nails it. His will is that I embrace sobriety, self-control, and say true things; (for a change?)...yawn. The basic problem with Christian literature, in my opinion; is that it's just altogether too cheery, "excessively bouncy" by my lights. To try to make going over this dreck (again), "interesting", you must needs smile too much.
The b.i.q. has some good stuff in it, so it's not entirely dreary to read, but it; like practically every other Christian text I can recall, skips "zero-hood". Possibly, Blaise Pascal escapes this trap, but that is a weird text to choose. "Pensees", is like going into an eccentric's house after he dies. All over the place are sticky-back notes, with fractions of thoughts. The haphazard collection is published as a "book", and it's one of the few I find interesting? Is this such a great example of "literature" at all?
I don't know if zero-hood is an inverse, or a converse of the "world system". Whichever is more accurate, no author (except me?) appears to even notice it's existence? Think back to Jesus' teachings. Who even talks this way? "You cannot serve God and mammon, or; the first shall be last, and the last first. The poor...are blessed! Woe to you rich, you've already received your reward". These, and others like them stand the "world" and it's values upside-down.
Just listen to Christian teaching for about ten seconds, and you (ought be able to) note that Christians invert the inversion. "God's blessing", turns out to be; once again power, money, promotion and influence. See? When you have that stuff, you have "blessing". Ergo, God (ostensibly) "leads-into" such dreck. Altogether too bouncy by my lights...It's not the Bible talking this misery, it's the Bible-believers! Why bother listening; if they are going to talk that way?
Take Solomon for example. He begins well, asking for wisdom, so as to rule (well) "this great people". Being warned against taking foreign wives means nothing to the guy, and he ends badly. We (believers) issue a generalized warning of "danger" here, and then promptly turn to ignore the danger! Power, money, fame and influence; this type of junk changes the man. Young Sol is not the same man as old Sol. The great Solomon, is bent by the greater-yet force of "success". So, we end up warning of "dangers", somewhere in this area here, and then; proceed to re-endorse the very same "success" (this time, for me!) which blew him out of the saddle in the first place.
Or think of this, when was it (exactly) that you last heard a sermon, or read a book, or listened to a radio show dealing with Matt. 6:24? Whatever in heck the "mammon of unrighteousness" proves finally to be, it (clearly!) is damned dangerous to your soul. At very minimum, we deal with money, glamour, power and the crud of "up", the guck of status. Yet, this remains a best-case scenario! Like ouija boards, at best, it's a delusion, and so; a near-null set. At worst, the enemy is manifesting! "Mammon" might also be an Agent, an intelligent (and malevolent) foe...Who talks about this?
The King then is asserting an either/or scenario. We either serve an assortment of slick, empty lies (best case!), or we serve the True God. And regardless of how gruesome a thing; (or creature!) "mammon" finally proves to be, we infer that service to the True God is "directional". That-a-way, we embrace (voluntarily!) weakness, poverty anonymity, and indeed; death! The way of the cross sounds like some truly awful advice, at the very minimum.
Meanwhile, the world is teaching that there is "no upper limit", or that the sky is the limit. You can (and are morally obliged) to achieve all your dreams. Christians (those experts in directional living); do not appear to noticeably differ from the cadre of the dead. Their writings are (to my tastes) just a tad too chipper, a might "optimistic". Going "up"...works! Who out there in Christianity-land even notices? Who out there ever comments on this? The King is saying "the first shall be last"...Does this mean, for us to to seek "promotion," we are to "go down"? Certainly almost every author I've read seems to believe (strongly) the reverse, such that said promotion (qua promoting) is always an "upward" motion.
The result here? We get smart, happy, shiny people. Believers with straight white teeth, and they smell good too! Did we mention that they knock down six figures, drive a Lexus, and are "servants" at heart? The trick here is to stress poverty "of spirit", never poverty of bank-account! A kind of codex, such that "humble" (never despised!) means that we've got a win-win over here. You can KEEP your money, KEEP your power, KEEP your influence, and still be able to re-interpret this up-ness as "blessing," by merely adding a "servant heart" (never servant status!) to your resume.
King Jesus says "the first shall be last". This implies (I think) that the maid, the janitor, and that dishwasher carry the inverse-status (jobs) which He endorses. Not so much then, a question of how-high you CAN go, in this life; but rather how low DARE you go? But let's face it, nobody that I know, has an "ambition" for their child, such that the kid grow up be a ditch-digger, or busboy. Nobody "aims" for their girl to grow up to become a baby-sitter, or to manage a laundro-mat. Since no money, no advantage, no perks are "there" to draw us in this direction, who (anywhere, or anywhen?) is going to "aim for the basement" motivationally?
Back in Ezra's day, surely somebody would have noticed such a gaping hole in the wall around Jerusalem. Why is nobody building there? Isn't that big blank spot just "calling" for somebody to take-note? And why this chronic blindness on the part of Christian believers anyway? How can we ALWAYS "not-notice"...our own source material?
Way back in 1979; I "just knew" that getting out of the military was the right thing to do. Did I get a vision? Hows about "a word from God"? Maybe I got "slain in the spirit"? Nope. It was Sergeant Menjes. He busted me because my shoes weren't "reg". This was insane, in that we had guys walking around in converse high-tops at work. Any kind of sneakers were okay (indoors) because of "black marks" (scuffs) on the white computer floor. John Menjes busted me, because my leather work shoes were not Air-Force reg! They had seams sewn across the toes...I pointed out that, since sneakers were okay, why not leather work shoes with soft sole? I quote: "Those shoes, (the sneakers) were approved, by memo, yours weren't". I was stunned...
When it came time for the re-up speech, where-in they try to talk you into re-enlisting, I pointed to the episode. The official reply was: " If you think that the military is being poorly run, why not stay in, and work for change from the inside the system?". It was very very clear to me at that time. I will never "change the system"...it will change me! If I were to stay in, whatever happened to John's mind, could happen to mine too!
Likewise then, with the mammon of unrighteousness. This sucker eats people! They wander in...and never come out! The "system" bends them. They lose their sense of humor. The sense of wonder, and of thanks...just goes away. The rich, the powerful, they become hard. They begin to complain, and then to nit-pick (to death), and so;"stuff" proves (clearly) to be more important to them, than...(say),you!
And so, therefore, ergo ( and other transitional phrasing); we embrace "the low". We seek "downward mobility" not because being broke is a "good" thing...it's simply less-bad! You cannot (reasonably) be "for" poverty, anonymity, or weakness. These (like us!), are not "desirable of, or in themselves"; and also like us, are accepted for "Another's sake". The freight of Eden, which our parents smuggled out, was to, each-individually imagine ourselves, as at the center of reality. Mammon, is the corporate, effort at same. To seek "un-mammon" then, is that by-comparison, the ugly-weak of poverty...is simply-said, less ugly!
Directionallly, we are drawn to beauty, and dare not trust it. We are compelled to duty, and dare not love it. It's both/and, never either/or. We accept things, for His sake, and for His sake, we are welcomed among the living. It's not "about you"...it never was.